By state Rep. Rodney Wakeman, of Saginaw Township
Saginaw County families and residents across Michigan deserve a state government that listens and answers to them. Not one that lacks transparency and accountability.
Recently, the Michigan Supreme Court rightfully ruled to restore the voice of Michigan residents by confirming that our state’s COVID-19 response needs to be a collaborative effort.
With the resumption of co-equal branches of government, my colleagues and I in the Legislature have acted swiftly on developing a detailed plan giving the people of Michigan more certainty and control in these challenging times. The plan relies on science-based, county-level data to guide decision-making, keep people healthy and determine appropriate COVID-19 restrictions locally.
Over the past seven months, I have listened to thousands of Saginaw County families whose lives and livelihoods have been impacted by the state’s one-size-fits-all response to this crisis. They demand more certainty, clearer guidance and transparency in decision-making – not more unilateral, statewide mandates.
The plan we’re working on has been put together by looking to best practices in other states in consultation with Michigan medical and science professionals. County-level data – not regional or statewide – will drive each community’s response to COVID-19. This will empower residents and local health officials to develop community-based strategies and it will enable a much more rapid response to better protect Michiganders in every corner of the state.
When data supports it, local health officials would have the discretion to modify COVID-19 policies and restrictions locally, so long as health data remains below certain thresholds that would trigger statewide intervention strategies. Proposed health thresholds allowing local decision-making would be based on five clear scientific metrics:
- Case rate. The number of confirmed community spread cases over a 14-day period is below 55 cases per 1 million people.
- Positivity rate. The rate of positive tests related to community spread over a 14-day period must be below 5 percent.
- Surge and hospital capacity. Hospitals must be able to handle a 20 percent surge in admissions or patient transfers, and they must be below a 25 percent hospitalization increase in the previous 14 days.
- Sufficient PPE supply. Local health facilities must have at least a two-week supply of personal protective equipment on hand.
- Ability to test for COVID-19. Counties must be able to test 15 people per 10,000 residents per day, and turn around test results in three days or less.
The health of Michiganders should never be politicized – and this plan ensures politics has no place in determining the state’s response to COVID-19. Under this plan, Saginaw County residents will know when and why decisions are made. There will be no surprises or confusion – only transparency and accountability.
By empowering people and listening to science, Michigan will have a smarter, safer and improved response to the virus as we move forward to better days ahead. As your state representative, I remain committed to working with the governor and her administration to correct the past wrongs and get a sensible, achievable plan across the finish line.
State Rep. Rodney Wakeman on Tuesday voted to override several vetoes issued by the governor after she stripped crucial funding for struggling students and small businesses from the Legislature’s COVID relief plan.